San Antonio Scientist Discovers ‘Extinct’ Oak Species in West Texas
A Texas-based scientist has resurrected, Jurassic Park style, a long-lost species from presumed extinction.
According to a new report from Texas Public Radio, scientist Michael Eason, part of the San Antonio Botanical Garden's Rare Plants and Conservation team, stumbled upon not one, but TWO, examples of the Quercus Tardifolia oak in West Texas’ rugged terrain.
This species had been written off the botanical records over a decade ago, and its rediscovery in the Boot Canyon of Big Bend National Park is nothing short of a freaking miracle.
Situated high in the Chisos Mountains, Boot Canyon offers a very special, tree-friendly microclimate.
The canyon's northward-facing aspect and limited sunlight create a supportive environment for trees, and it was here that Michael Eason discovered the supposedly 'extinct' oaks.
Quercus Tardifolia stands out for its unusual biology, specifically its life cycle.
A 'late-leafing' oak clings to its leaves throughout winter, only shedding them when spring arrives.
This unique trait maybe helped it survive in an ancient era when Texas had a cooler and wetter climate.
The Tardifolia’s continued existence in Texas has been full of difficulties from increasing temperatures to the interbreeding of different oaks.
Specimens collected by Eason's team were verified by the Morton Arboretum in Illinois, confirming that the Tardifolia was DEFINITELY back from botanical oblivion.
Since this discovery, the team has found more trees on private properties and has managed to "propagate the species using grafting techniques."
The team aims to ensure the tree's future by cultivating it in botanical gardens and arboreta, including their own home base in San Antonio.
Let me know what you think at email@example.com
READ ON: Weird, wild UFO sightings from throughout history